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Heard of this town in the movies and now you want to learn about the best things to do in Mystic, CT?
Whether you are visiting as part of a road trip, on a day trip, or on vacation, this guide share what to do in Mystic, outdoors and indoors so you won’t be caught out if it rains!
We’ve detailed Mystic attractions such as museums that tell you about the town’s maritime history, the cafes and restaurants you must eat at (not just pizza!), and some outdoor, family-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained.
Let’s take a look at what Groton and Stonington’s Mystic in New England has on offer.
Did we miss out on your favorite thing to do? Tell us in the comments!
Fun Things to Do in Mystic, CT (Outdoors)
Mystic Seaport Attractions
Mystic Seaport (75 Greenmanville Rd), founded in 1929, is the largest maritime museum globally.
The museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship.
The museum also has one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country.
Mystic Seaport hosts a wide variety of educational and community programs for all ages.
More than 140,000 people visit Mystic Seaport, and over 25,000 students attend our education programs each year.
A true American maritime experience.
Book your ticket here.
Charles W. Morgan Ship
This wooden whaling ship, located at Mystic Seaport, is known as the Charles W. Morgan and it is the last of its kind in the world.
She is the United States’ oldest commercial vessel — built back in 1841!
The ship has been restored to perfect condition and welcomes visitors from all over America (and beyond).
Olde Mistick Village
You can’t visit Mystic without stopping by the Olde Mystic Village (27 Coogan Blvd).
This old New England village recreation is a trip back to simpler days.
The Village features many old-fashioned shops and restaurants, all set in a charming rural atmosphere.
You’ll also enjoy seeing some of the historic buildings in the Village, including an old tavern and blacksmith shop.
The Village itself offers over 60 shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Plus, it’s located directly across from the Seaport on the main road in town.
So it’s easy to find and gives you a lot of options for things to do in Mystic, CT.
Olde Mistick also features in our guide to Connecticut in winter.
Mystic River Bascule Bridge
The Mystic River Bascule Bridge is still in operation today and was built in 1912.
The harbor is a great place to watch boats coming in and out of the water.
In order to see it in action, you should go at least 15 minutes earlier than the hour or half-hour, as it only opens at those times.
In the middle of the bridge is an opening that allows large boats to get out of the harbor, but allows smaller ones to pass through.
Mystic River Cruises
Mystic River Cruise offers a variety of cruises, including trips to the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Mystic River Cruise offers a variety of cruises, including trips to the Mystic Aquarium and Mohegan Sun Casino.
The Mystic River Cruise is a great way to see the coastline and the harbor.
The cruise offers excellent views of the river, the old shipyards, and even the submarine base.
The cruise is narrated and talks about the maritime history of Mystic, as well as some of the modern sights on the river.
You’ll learn interesting details about local landmarks and businesses, including the Mystic Pizza restaurant that inspired the movie.
There are also occasional wildlife sightings on board, so keep your eyes peeled for seals, herons, and other critters.
If you like water sports, check out our guide to kayaking in Connecticut.
Eat Lobster at Ford’s
You’re by the sea so it would be rude not to dine on lobster in a cute shack!
Ford’s offers al fresco seafood and BYOB. Sold.
Williams Beach Park
Williams Beach Park (1 Harry Austin Dr) is a small beachfront park where locals and visitors can go swimming or picnic.
There is also a playground and sports field.
This beach in Mystic is not looked after by lifeguards but it is one of the best free things to do in Mystic, CT.
Tree Trails Adventures Mystic
Tree Trails Mystic (715 Noank Ledyard Rd) is a fun experience for the whole family!
With aerial challenges and zip lines, you’re sure to have an adventure like no other.
It’s located on the grounds of the Mystic Seaport Museum, and it takes about an hour to complete.
The course includes 12 elements that go from easy to difficult.
You can take your time or go as fast as you want!
Indoor Activities in Mystic, Connecticut
If you catch Mystic on a rainy day or if the sea breeze is a tad too cutting, consider the following things to do in Mystic, indoors!
Historic Downtown Mystic
At Downtown Mystic shops, you’ll find old buildings housing restaurants, shops, and art galleries in the historic downtown area.
Historic Downtown Mystic is a quaint New England area with a rich seafaring history, featuring shops, restaurants, and the Mystic River Bascule Bridge.
You can stroll through the streets lined with local stores and restaurants like Mystic Pizza or Sift Bake Shop.
Stop by Bank Square Books to find your next good read or dine at the Oyster Club.
Drink Tea at Alice In the Village
Step into the scene of a Lewis Carroll dream at Alice in the Village.
Choose from bubble teas, butterfly pea teas, matcha, chai, iced tea and hot tea.
Look out for seasonal options too.
Mystic Pizza (60 Main St), one of Connecticut’s most famous pizzerias, was made into a movie in 1988.
At the time, the restaurant was located in a tiny building behind the Mystic Seaport Museum, and locals still remember when Julia Roberts was discovered there.
Many people know that Mystic Pizza’s movie is based on Mystic’s tiny pizza place with the same name.
Guess what? It’s not just a movie.
The pizza place is real, and it’s still one of the best places to eat in town today.
It has moved from its original location to a much larger building about a mile away, but you can still stop for a delicious pizza slice (or two).
Mystic Museum of Art
Mystic Museum of Art (9 Water St) is a community-based art organization that promotes the visual arts through exhibitions, classes, workshops, and community outreach programs.
The Mystic Museum of Art provides exciting exhibitions and educational programs for adults, children, and families.
A gift shop is filled with handcrafted artwork by American artisans, including jewelry, pottery, glass, woodwork, and textile art.
The Mystic Museum of Art is a non-profit community art center with the mission to “create an environment where art is valued, nurtured, understood and enjoyed.”
The museum offers year-round exhibitions that feature both local and national artists.
For example, past shows have included “The Art of the Novella,” featuring sculptures made from books and other literary items, and “Elegance in Black and White,” showcasing paintings and drawings from 19th-century Italy.
You can also learn how to draw portraits or paint watercolors in one of their classes or workshops.
The museum runs summer camps for all ages, including “Studio Kids” for ages 5 to 8.
This place also features in our CT bucket list.
Things to do in Mystic at Night
Have a Tipple at an Irish Bar
Head to the Harp and the Hound for Irish hospitality, beer, whiskey and pub grub.
Sports are shown live on the TV too.
Enjoy Cocktails, Burgers in a Tavern
If you prefer a cozy pub with simple burgers and a cocktail menu, Friar’s Tuck’s Tavern is a sound option.
This is a compact yet lively bar in Mystic.
Dine on Seafood with Rooftop Views
Reserve a table at Mix Rooftop & Bar at Sift for sundown drinks, seafood and seasonal cocktails.
If it’s a little chilly, heat up at the fit pits embedded in the tables!
Watch the Sunset over River Mystic
Team your river views with patio dining and oysters at Spoyster.
Heaters and patio umbrellas are provided for colder evenings.
Eat German Food and Drink in a Beer Garden
If you prefer bratwurst over burgers and schnitzel over a salad, consider the Jealous Monk.
It also serves burgers and salad by the way!
Expect live music, sports on TV, and an extensive beer list: perfection.
Visiting during winter? Be sure to reserve your igloo before you visit Mystic.
Catch a Movie
Mystic Luxury Cinemas is an independently owned, remodeled cinema with very comfortable heated seats.
Not only can you watch the latest releases here but also occasional live theater and concert performances.
Live Music at Mystic Theatre
See local, national, and international acts at the renovated 1911 vaudeville theater in Mystic.
You can also dine at McNear’s Saloon & Dining House.
A Different Kind of Show at Mystic Dark Room
For something a little more risqué, Mystic Dark Room is an intimate show lounge that puts on electric dance events.
Book a private table to watch professional dancers under an impressive light show.
Some shows are family-friendly and some offer BYOB tickets.
Get ready to pot some balls at Christo’s Pizza Mystic.
This pizza joint also has a full bar so you can make a night of it.
How to Get to Mystic, CT
If you plan to arrive by car, Boston to Mystic takes around 2.5 hours, and NYC to Mystic is 3.5 hours, traffic depending.
There is an Amtrak station (2 Roosevelt Av) and trains arrive and depart Mystic and New London daily.
Buses also stop in Mystik.
Have you been to Mystic? Tell us in the comments!